When you’re about to cross the chasm – the threshold of experience – tension awaits.
Tension beckons but you can’t move forward because you’re paralysed with Fear.
Fear takes hold because for the longest time you’ve been conditioned to think that forward motion isn’t possible. The Unknown is a scary place; but you will not perish. You will survive it.
As the fog fades in the background, a light flickers in the convoluted stream of consciousness, you see a way out. The tension moves you forward.
Create tension on behalf of change.
Every now and then, insights arise that don’t quite jibe with the observations that came before. Such aberrations yield a more nuanced understanding of the topic and are folded into the narrative of what we know. Sometimes, though, a new discovery is so profound that it is impossible to reconcile, and knowledge must proceed in a different direction entirely.
My inspiration for this painting was derived from my readings of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. As I read about Kaladin’s harrowing journey toward resilience and reconciliation with the self on the Shattered Plains, I felt compelled to create my version of it.
The Shattered Plains was a gripping ambience that somehow resonated.
The Hedgehog is my hero in this story: consistently, persistently, tenaciously, overcoming the tension and fear of the unknown. And without guarantee, always moving forward.
I had a vivid dream once, and it went like this [caution – gory content ahead]:
It’s 2017. I died.
I’m walking through a parade; a throng of people walking in unison to the festive beat along a new-orleans-esque street. A sudden dread welled up through my sternum and permeated every cell of my being. “Run”, it said. “Turn back and run. You are in imminent danger!”
With a heavy heart and bated breath, I turned to walk in the opposite direction – against the rhythm of the masses. The sense of panic intensified and as my eyes swiftly darted from left to right, I knew this night would end in my demise. As if to fulfill such prophesy, I immediately encountered my masked assailant as he took a knife to my throat and slid it open. Blood trickled down my neck and warmed my chest. I screamed to no avail and only managed to collapse into a helpless heap as my life force slowly drained out of me.
Upon waking, and getting over the initial shock, I was confused but mainly curious. Then I went and painted this:
While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.
Leonardo da Vinci
Through the process of painting an embodied image of my dream, it brought to my awareness the parts of me – the beloved defense, the old and loyal friend, the familiar protector – that I had to let go. Or let die. Towards change for the better.